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  1. Blog
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Canonical
on 4 June 2024


Immutable Ubuntu Core delivers a new factory installation system for IoT device makers, GPU support for AIoT and device management integrations with Landscape and Microsoft Azure IoT Edge.

London, 4 June 2024.

Today, Canonical announced the general availability of Ubuntu Core 24, with a 12 year Long Term Support (LTS) commitment. This ‘immutable’ flavour of Ubuntu puts every system component, and the system itself, into a set of containers with strict kernel-enforced confinement, rich managed component integration, reliable over-the-air updates and failsafe rollbacks to enable intelligent edge and IoT applications. 

With support for Arm, X86 and RISC-V, Ubuntu Core transforms Ubuntu, the world’s favourite developer platform, into a platform for billions of edge devices. Its rich app ecosystem and open management infrastructure enable companies to easily integrate third-party solutions that fit their deployment needs. 

“Ubuntu Core is the locked-down, hardened, embedded version of Ubuntu, that brings Ubuntu applications to the far edge and enables the next generation of intelligent devices,” said Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical. “In Ubuntu Core 24 we are excited to bring the full AI stack with real-time kernel to the edge, to enable mission-critical decision making for industrial, automotive and security-sensitive embedded solutions”.

Optimised factory installation, faster time to market 

Ubuntu Core 24 is made for billions of connected devices. Canonical has cut the factory installation time needed per device and enabled air-gapped factory installation to meet demands for accelerated rollouts and secure, global supply chains. 

Ubuntu Core 24 introduces validation sets in the tool used to create custom Ubuntu Core images. Validation sets are signed documents that specify which applications, and which versions of those applications, should be installed together, ensuring that particular devices always have the correct applications installed as a group. These documents can be updated over the air, ensuring that device updates are constrained to tested app combinations.

“Integrating Ubuntu Core into our award-winning automation system, ctrlX AUTOMATION, has significantly streamlined our production process. Ubuntu Core’s image-building capabilities allow us to quickly deploy secure and efficient devices to the market. Ubuntu Core ensures our control systems operate seamlessly from the first boot, minimising installation times and enhancing device reliability. This efficiency boost not only reduces the production line downtime but also reinforces the trust and high-performance standards Bosch Rexroth is known for”. – Dr. Holger Schnabel, Product Owner at Bosch.

Bosch Rexroth, ctrlX (Image Source: Bosch Rexroth).

For highly regulated environments, Ubuntu Core 24 provides greater control over automatic network requests. Device manufacturers can now disable all network communications during device initialisation. Core 24 also includes offline remodelling, allowing engineering teams to migrate to newer Core versions in air-gapped environments. 

“Provisioning and configuring new devices involved a lot of manual steps. But thanks to Ubuntu Core, setting up our medical self-testing kiosks takes 25% of the time it used to. This has helped us manage our rapidly growing device fleet effortlessly across Europe”. – Dries Oeyen, CTO of BeWell Innovations.

BeWell Innovations. Self-testing kiosk (Image Source: BeWell).

Improved GPU integration for AIoT and graphics applications

Ubuntu Core 24 brings new integrations and features for GPU operations and graphics support. Developers can now use the GPU interface to embed a range of applications – from AI models running inference on the edge, to products that require graphics acceleration. This release improves hardware compatibility through updated graphics drivers and optimises resource utilisation via a shared userspace environment. 

“Our technology uses computer vision and deep machine learning to enable 99.9% order accuracy from selection to delivery. Ubuntu Core enables us to deploy our AI models and updates securely and reliably to our fleet of edge systems. This end-to-end infrastructure makes our systems secure for the most demanding enterprise environments and reduces time to market for new AI applications“.  – Robert Martin, Vice President of Technology at Rehrig Pacific Company.

Ubuntu Core can also be used in combination with Ubuntu Frame, Canonical’s secure display server for embedded Linux. For Core 24, Frame now supports hybrid GPU systems, including combinations of open source and proprietary platforms. Additional Ubuntu Frame features that can be used in combination with Core include multi-display device solutions, screen locking, seamless boot, support for drag and drop, power-saving displays, remote assistance support, runtime display layout modification, and a new user-configurable diagnostic screen.

“Ubuntu Frame allows Proto Hologram to deliver groundbreaking holographic and spatial computing experiences seamlessly, freeing us from concerns over specific drivers, window dynamics, or secure client-server communications. And with Ubuntu Core, our platform can be deployed securely and effortlessly in public spaces worldwide, as we revolutionise how people experience connection and communication”. – Edward Ginis, Co-Founder & CTO of Proto Inc. 

Proto Inc. The Epic, holographic display (Image Source: Proto).

An open device management approach that adapts to your needs

Ubuntu Core 24 offers new device management integrations with Landscape, Canonical’s systems management tool, and Microsoft Azure IoT Edge, enabling organisations to choose the approach that best suits their needs.   

Landscape offers centralised control of OTA updates, auditing, access control, and compliance across devices. The management tool supports both well-connected and air-gapped environments. It comes with features like canary releases, remote device remodelling, and system monitoring to streamline device management tasks. 

Landscape dashboard

Additionally, Canonical has announced the release of Azure IoT Edge snaps for the seamless integration of Ubuntu Core devices with Azure IoT Edge services. These snaps enable organisations to deploy, manage, and monitor edge workloads across fleets of compatible devices directly from the Azure portal.

The Azure IoT Edge snaps are now available from Canonical’s Snap Store, for AMD64 and Arm64-based architectures.

New ROS integrations for robotics developers 

For twenty years, robotics developers have trusted Ubuntu as their preferred development environment. With Core 24, robotics innovators benefit from the new device management,  optimised installation and AIoT features to deliver new products at scale. Core 24 also delivers production-ready integrations to deploy solutions with the Robot Operating System (ROS).

Canonical has made ROS foundational snaps available for modular deployments. These snaps are maintained by Canonical, and include sets of common ROS packages, such as ros_core, ros_base or desktop, available in several flavours per ROS distribution. With them, developers can design modular ROS snap deployments, enabling reconfigurability and reducing overall memory and OTA update bandwidth. 

“With Ubuntu Core powering our Panther robot, we ensure reliability and security, which are critical in today’s legislative landscape. The ROS foundational snaps enhance security through strict application confinement and streamline the deployment of ROS applications. This modular approach improves mass customisation, promoting a secure, flexible, and efficient robotics architecture that can adapt to our diverse customers’ needs without compromise”.  – Dominik Nowak, Co-Founder & CEO of Husarion.  

Husarion, Panther, heavy-duty mobile robot platform (Image Source: Husarion).

Build your Core image today:

About Canonical 

Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, provides open source security, support and services. Our portfolio covers critical systems, from the smallest devices to the largest clouds, from the kernel to containers, from databases to AI. With customers that include top tech brands, emerging startups, governments and home users, Canonical delivers trusted open source for everyone. 

Learn more at https://canonical.com/

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